Will We Know One Another in Heaven?
|By: Rev. Sam Harris; ©2002|
|A reader wrote in to ask if there were any scriptures that tell us whether we will know one another in heaven. Rev. Sam Harris tackles that question this month.|
Will We Know One Another in Heaven?
Besides the narrative of Lazarus and the Rich King, are there any other Scriptures that would let me know whether or not the saints will know each other when we get to heaven? I believe we will. Could you help me!
I believe we will, too, and am looking forward to seeing and being with a lot of people I have known over the years. I am anxious to talk to others like the apostles, Paul, and some of the other great men and women who have gone before us.
First, the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31. Lazarus was a poor man covered with sores who lay at a gate; the Rich Man was clothed in the finest available for his time. Lazarus died and ended up at Abraham’s bosom (a symbol of heaven), while the Rich Man died and went to Hades. Without going into any detail on the meaning of this passage, we simply note that the Rich Man looked up and saw Lazarus with Abraham. Some have questioned if this is a parable of Jesus or actually happened? One thing to note: Lazarus’ name is used in the “parable” while there are no other names mentioned in any of Jesus’ other parables. It is possible that this could have actually happened as Jesus reported it.
Another passage is the “Transfiguration” found in Matthew 17: 1 -13. Here is an obvious “glimpse” of heaven for Peter, James, and John. Jesus was (according to the Greek: metamorphoo from which we get our English word metamorphous) “transfigured,” meaning “to change one’s form.” The three disciples saw Moses and Elijah.
Let me draw an interesting parallel here with the word “transformed.” In 1 Corinthians 15:52 are these words regarding the mystery of the resurrection: “… in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up imperishable, and we shall be changed.” The word “changed” is the Greek word “allasso,” which means “to change in form or nature,” and it is a synonym for “metamorphoo” above.
There are a couple of other passages that we might also consider.
- Matthew 8:11—Jesus speaking: “And I say to you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” Won’t it be a blessing to sit around the table and talk with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and countless other Biblical figures. According to this passage, we will know them by name.
- Speaking of the Lord’s return, Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4: 17: “When we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” I like that phrase “caught up together;” that would imply our knowledge of each other even in heaven.
- In Philippians 4: 4, Paul speaks of our names being in the “Book of Life.” In Revelation 3: 5, Jesus proclaims to the Church at Sardis: “He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I shall not erase his name from the Book of Life, and I shall confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” My name, your name, and all of those who have professed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, are in the Book of Life. Though my body will be changed (1 Corinthians 15) I still will carry my name throughout all of eternity.
Yes, I believe that we shall know each other in heaven, and I am looking forward to spending all eternity with my Christian friends. Which should remind us that there are still many people in the world who will never be in heaven unless they, too, confess and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. So there is still much work to be done!